For most of us busy parents it’s not about the work life balance, it’s about the work life juggle as that’s what I feel I’m doing most days. Just juggling…Then sometimes a spanner is well & truly thrown in the works, you drop the balls and try your best to limit the damage and move forward. If you’ve read the blog recently you might have seen that I was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation on my spine. It’s going to take some time to recover from this major op and even when I do recover I really need to reassess my work life balance.
For a few years now, work & life has just blurred together and become one, and I fully accepted that even though it it was hard work. It’s so hard to be self employed, you are solely responsible for your income. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that. But as I’ve built my cake business & gotten busier I’ve gotten carried away with work. My business well & truly started to take over my life. The kids were always a priority and came first but everything else came second.
I was barely spending any time with the hubby, instead I was working every evening with him going to bed & I’d still be sat in the kitchen working on cake orders. On a weekend I’d be busy delivering, taking orders & prepping for the next week. I started cancelling plans with friends, put off date nights with the hubby and was just too tired to do anything other than look after the kids & work.
Being rushed into hospital has given me time to really think. It’s the first time I’ve cancelled any orders, even being bed bound with no feeling in my leg I was still considering working when I was discharged. How crazy is that? But I was genuinely trying to think about how I could manage to keep those orders going! I’m now going to take all the time I need to recover an not rush back into work, plus I’m really going to work on how to find that work life balance:
1. START SMALL
I always find that when I make too drastic a change I end up heading towards failure, it’s just too hard to keep to. I’m building small changes into my lifestyle to create a better balance and will keep moving on from there. It’s so much easier to achieve small goals and it will motivate you to move onto those bigger goals & achievements.
2. WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER
I got into the habit of not wanting to turn customers away and would take every cake order. Moving forward I’m going to limit the amount of orders I do. I could spend 40 hours on ten small cakes or 25 hours on 2-3 more detailed cakes & still earn the same amount. You need to concentrate on the more profitable or worthwhile areas.
This applies to my future in blogging too. Some amazing opportunities have arisen for me recently which would be more profitable than the cakes I make. I would never give up my cake business Handmade Queen, but it’s more about balancing the different opportunities. Some weeks it might make more sense to work with Gym Bunny Mummy clients than Handmade Queen clients.
3. JUST SAY NO
This follows on from the above, I just couldn’t say no. I was so scared it was going to affect my business but I’ve learnt that saying no can actually help. If I’m not too bogged down with lot’s of small jobs I can work on moving things forward.
I had no time to think about new ways to expand the business or new ways of working. I was just too busy working. Now I’m taking some time for my recovery I’m rethinking my business plan. My sister is going to join the business and we’re looking at moving forward with selling handmade cake decorations online along with the fully decorated cakes locally as I’ve had so many people ask for personalised cake decorations.
4. LEAVE WORK AT WORK
For me this is the hardest part, I really struggle to switch off & will sit down on an evening with the hubby but fail to hold a conversation as I’m so busy emailing customers or discussing cake prices via Facebook. These are the nights when I struggle to sleep & end up getting up at 5am as my mind just won’t switch off.
5. MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE
I used to go to the gym five nights a week, the gym was my release. It was my time to myself, my time to focus on nothing apart from what I’m doing right at that time. The more I worked, the less I went to the gym. The less I went to the gym the more I felt crappy, I wasn’t getting the exercise or the release I needed from daily life.
It’s going to take a while to be able to get back to exercising but I’m going to make sure that exercise is firmly a part of my work life balance going forward
Things are really going to change in my lifestyle and how & when I work and I’ll definitely be referring back to this post to make sure I keep on track!
What do you think, do you have a good balance?